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Descamisados, a term translated literally as the "shirtless ones," first used in a pejorative manner by Argentina's mainstream press on 17 October 1945 to describe the lower-class supporters of Juan Domingo Perón. Workers had gathered by the hundreds of thousands in the Plaza de Mayo to protest, successfully, the arrest of Perón, a symbol of working-class aspirations. They embraced the label and transformed it into a badge of honor that signified both their poverty and hard work. Perón himself first used the word publicly at a rally of the Labor Party early in 1946. At the end of his speech, he tossed his jacket aside and rolled up his sleeves. He, too, would be a descamisado, and Eva, his wife, would become a symbol of both their dignity and their close identification with the regime. The attention given the descamisados, however, obscured the multiclass character of the Peronist movement.

See alsoArgentina, Political Parties: Justicialist Party; Avellaneda, Nicolás; Mitre, Bartolomé; Perón, Juan Domingo; Perón, María Eva Duarte de.


Samuel L. Baily, Labor, Nationalism, and Politics in Argentina (1967), p. 90.

Julie M. Taylor, Eva Perón: The Myths of a Woman (1979), chaps. 4 and 6.

Joseph Page, Perón: A Biography (1983), pp. 136-137.

                                          Paul Goodwin

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